Chief Justice Martha Koome has denounced claims alleging she filed an application calling for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s impeachment over his failure to appoint six of the forty judges nominated by the Judicial Service Commission in 2021.
The CJ was responding to the news that was published by various media houses on Saturday.
Koome, in a statement issued through her lawyer Charles Kanjama on Saturday, said Uhuru is indeed at fault for failing to appoint the six judges even though the High Court ordered him to do so.
However, she emphasised in clarity that she did not call for Uhuru’s removal from office through impeachment.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Chief Justice Koome has not made an application seeking the president’s impeachment,” the statement read.
In 2020, Katiba Institute filed a petition seeking to have Koome appoint the six judges Uhuru rejected from the 40 that the Judicial Service Commission approved.
Kanjama said Koome has always emphasised that the role of appointing judges is constitutionally reserved for the president and not the Chief Justice.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Chief Justice Koome has not made an application seeking the president’s impeachment,” Kanjama said.
Kanjama advised that the best remedy for the situation is for the current constitutional enforcement mechanisms to be applied to deal with Uhuru’s refusal to appoint the six judges.
In October 2021, both the Chief Justice and the JSC filed a notice of appeal and an application to stay the judgement after the High Court made a judgement in the Katiba Institute petition.
The Appellate court stayed the second judgement pending the official filing of an objective appeal.
According to Kanjama, there has been no order of stay and the first High Court ruling is in force Uhuru and the AG have the right to have their appeals heard and determined based on merits.
“While there is an appeal pending in the Court of Appeal by the President and the AG, there has been no order of stay and the 1st High Court decision is in force. The President and AG have the right to have their appeals heard and determined on the merits,” said Kanjama.
Uhuru appointed 34 judges who had merited the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) but rejected 6 of them from the list.
The head of state receded the appointment of Aggrey Muchelule, George Odunga, Joel Ngugi, Judith Omange Cheruiyot, Makori Evans Kiago and Weldon Korir.
In his speech during the swearing-in of the 34 judges he appointed at State House on June 4, 2021, the head of state subtly mooted that he rejected the 6 nominees on matters of integrity.
Uhuru said his decision to reject the six judges was informed by materials in the hands of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and other security organs.
“Just like you today, I too took an oath to both the letter and the spirit of the law; and it is not open to me as to turn a blind eye to reports of our state organs,” said Uhuru.